1st MFA’s at Kutztown U

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pattern © 2016 Emma P. Brooks

Emma Brooks and Al Bronokowski made history as the first MFA’s in Communication Design. This MFA is the first terminal degree offered at Kutztown University. I, myself, was once in a first MFA class at another college, so I know it takes a leap of faith to embark on something so new. Emma and Al are to be congratulated. They learned a lot and produced fascinating work.


Emma’s thesis project was called ‘Kindred Memories’ a collection of illustrated pattern designs based on her family history. The imagery on dinnerware and curtains above, for example, are based on her great-grandfather Martin Schicker, an outdoorsman who collected luna moths.


Emma said her education was transformative. She completed her thesis under the able direction of Prof. Denise Bosler. “I came here to get an MFA so I could teach. I realized designing is what I want to do!”said Emma. “Maybe I will teach someday in the future, but  now I really want to design patterns.” More of Emma’s work can be seen here.

Emma Brooks explaining her thesis for Kutztown faculty and Dean Mowder.

Al’s final project was not so illustrative, but no less impressive. He did an interactive project with Prof. Josh Miller. Al said his breakthrough came when Prof. Josh Miller told him, “Interactive design doesn’t have to be just web design, it can be so much more.”


Al created an immersive multi-sensory experience based on Arcadia National Park. The experience included multiple projectors, natures sounds, and even scents meant to evoke the features of this particular park. It reminded me of the Holodeck on Star Trek.

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Screenshot from AlBronakowski.com

Al explains it on his website: ” I constructed an interactive table that uses an infrared camera and reacTIVision software to track fiducial symbols on the bottom of objects. The table also includes servos and multicolored LEDs that are controlled by an Arduino and react to the fiducial symbols. The interface projects information about the park onto three walls and the table top.” He  wrote the program that controls the entire project in Processing. I must admit that is all Greek to me, but the end result was remarkable.

More of Al’s work including video of his thesis project can be found here.

The Kutztown University MFA in Communication Design Program is still looking for a few good students to begin classes next fall. More info can be found here.


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